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McNeese hosts 66th annual rodeo

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 8:31 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The McNeese State University Rodeo is taking place at the Burton Coliseum Friday at noon.

With just two competitions left this season, the McNeese rodeo team is ready to wrap up the year.

The McNeese Cowboys were happy to be back for a normal season. While riders had to take some COVID-19 precautions, it didn’t really change much for their competitions this year.

“For a while, every rodeo was canceled, and then they slowly merged back into it,” said McNeese bull rider Shea Fournier.

COVID-19 cut the rodeo season short in 2020. Fournier said it was tough not competing last year.

“This is what we want to do for a living, and it impacted us. It’s like getting fired from your job,” Fournier said.” So, for a year, cowboys were just having to make things do and having to get by and anticipating for the next rodeo season to come back up.”

For many, rodeo is like a job, and they rely on those earnings from competitions.

“Whenever we started getting to rodeo again, it was great because you had places to go, you had money to win, you were able to go compete. And you were able to hit the road as we say,” said Kade Sonnier, who rides bareback on horse for the team.

Some of the rodeo team athletes said they missed having the arena packed full of fans as it was before the pandemic.

“Packed house on a Saturday night, there’s nothing like it,” Sonnier said. “Now, the crowd is starting to get back into it, it gives me chills just thinking about it.”

With loosening restrictions, more and more fans have been coming back.

“It’s always fun having a crowd full of fans screaming and hollering whenever you’re ready,” said Fournier.

Seating at the coliseum is limited to 500 guests.

Heading into the competition, the McNeese Rodeo women’s team is ranked first in the Southern Region and the men’s team stands in fifth place.

Tickets are $10, and admission is free for children 5 and under. McNeese students will be able to get in free with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate.

For more information, call 337-475-5690.

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